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196                                         THE MADH7A VAISHHAYAS,
it Is regarded. It is to convictions of this kind that must be attributed the
titter indifference of the HindcUo chronological accuracy and historical research.
The annals of Hindustan date only from its conquest by the Muhammadans—
a people whose faith is based on the misconception of a fact, as the Hindus5
is on the corrupt embodiment of a conception. Thus the literature of the
former deals exclusively with events ; of the latter with ideas.
At Bathi another Bairagi of the same Sampradaya, by name Gobardhan
Das, who knew most of the Bhagavad Grita by heart, told me that their chief
seat was at Salimabad in Jodhpnr territory, where the Gosain had a complete
library of the literature of tbe sect. He quoted some of the books by name,
the Siddhanta Ratnanjalij the Girivajra, the Ratna-mala, the Setuka, the Jahna-
vi, and the Ratna-manjusha ; but he could not specify the authors, or give any
definite information as to their contents. Neither could he give a clear expla-
nation of any difference of doctrine between his own sect and the Sri Vaishnavas.
Like Ram Das, the Pandit at Kokila-ban, the great point on which he insisted
was that all visible creation is a shadow of the Creator and is therefore true in
a measure, though void of all substantial and independent existence. A view
which is aptly represented by the lines : —
" The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the plains ?
Are not these, 0 soul, the vision of him who reigns ?
Is not the vision He ? tho' He be not that which He seems ?
Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams ?
All we have power to see is a straight staff bent in a pool:"
the illustration given in the last line being the very one which these Hindu
dreamers most frequently bring forward.
The Madhva Yaishnavas form a scattered and not very numerous commu-
nity, and none of their temples, either at Brinda-ban or elsewhere in the district,
are of any note. Their founder, Madhvacharya, was a native of Southern
India, born in the year 1199 A. D. The temple where he ordinarily resided is
still in existence at a place called UdipL Here he had set up a miraculous image
of Krishna, made with the hero Arjun's own hands, which had been casually
thrown as -ballast into a ship from Dwaraka? which was wrecked on the Malabar
c^ast JSe is said to have been only nine years of age when he composed the
Bhasha or commentary on the Gita, which Ms disciples accept as of divine
authority. Their distinctive doctrine is the assertion of an essential Duality
(Dwaita) between the Jlvatma, or principle of life, and the Paramatma, or
Supreme Being. Their sectarial mark consists of two perpendicular white lines